Power Can Bias Impression Processes: Stereotyping Subordinates by Default and by Design

Stephanie A. Goodwin, Alexandra Gubin, Susan T. Fiske, Vincent Y. Yzerbyt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

309 Scopus citations


Powerholders may engage in two stereotyping processes: (a) by default, inattention to stereotype-inconsistent information, due to lack of dependency, and (b) by design, effortful attention to stereotype-consistent information, due to explicit control. Study 1 manipulated control (not dependency) over internship applicants; powerful decision-makers increased attention to stereotypic attributes, consistent with stereotyping by design. Study 2 measured differences in trait dominance as an analog to situational control, replicating Study 1. Study 3 separately manipulated perceiver control and dependency; powerful perceivers increased attention to powerless targets' stereotypic attributes (by design) and also decreased attention to counter-stereotypic attributes (by default). Study 4 compared powerful perceivers' ratings of potential subordinates to their own prior ratings of target categories and target traits. Relative to the powerless, powerful perceivers' impressions were based significantly less on target traits, supporting the attention results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-256
Number of pages30
JournalGroup Processes & Intergroup Relations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • impression formation
  • intergroup relations
  • power
  • stereotyping


Dive into the research topics of 'Power Can Bias Impression Processes: Stereotyping Subordinates by Default and by Design'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this